Readers Demand Executive Realness, in Politics and Fashion

ColorLines readers sound off on the DREAM Act, Gabby Sidibe and rattails.

By Channing Kennedy Sep 17, 2010

This week on, the big news is the DREAM Act will finally get a vote–which could mean great things for thousands of undocumented college-bound students, if the Democrats can muster the will to pass it. Plus, mainstream fashion magazines are still afraid of plus-sized women of color, and the establishment isn’t nearly afraid enough of hiphop. Want to join us? Jump on in — here on, or on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Youtube.

Gabby Sidibe’s one of our favorite people here in the ColorLines offices, and it seems like y’all love talking about her too, judging from the activity on Julianne Hing’s two pieces on her lightened, cropped, and be-weaved Elle cover. On Facebook, Janet R. points out that the issue is more complicated than it first seems. Not by much, though.

The only thing that makes this worse is she is Elle’s token fat girl cover model. Do a google image search for "Elle magazine covers" & you’ll quickly see that.

… In recent years Elle has had an African American celebrity cover model quite a bit (don’t forget~Beyonce sells a whole lotta magazines!). But an obese cover model? Rosie O’Donnell is it, until now. So one could argue that is progress? But it doesn’t much feel that way when they gave her such bad hair & a bleached out look.

And frequent commenter convo_girl couldn’t be contained by the constraints of our comment box, and wrote a whole blog post herself, which includes a comparison of the Elle cover with Gabby’s March 2010 appearance on the front of Ebony. More female politico-cultural bloggers, please!

We also got lots of comments on all of Julianne’s coverage of the breaking developments in the DREAM Act, mostly from supporters of the legislation, and some from opponents. We got this undeniably inspiring message in a brief email from Shilpa B.:

I’m from Alabama, so my senators are nearly hopeless on progressive issues, but the DREAM Act article spurred me on to call their offices. And to make my family members promise to do the same.

Meanwhile, commenter Vitablue says the DREAM Act does nothing to address the fact that the United States isn’t that great a place to be a citizen of in the first place:

We have to look past our reactionary, nationalist views of immigration to understand what is at stake for the United States. To start, there is a legacy of race, gender, and class exploitation in the United States. Exploitation is fundamental because unlike other countries, nations, civilizations, The United States begins with the conquest of indigenous lands. It isn’t like the United States developed thousands of years ago in the hills of the Ozark mountains. All of the land was taken from other groups of people. The South was taken from Mexico, France, and Native groups. The West, Mid-west, and Northwest was taken from Native, Spain, and Mexico.

How the process of taking land was facilitated was through the inclusion and exclusion of people given the status of "White, Male and American" this slowly progressed to include Non-native American White men, White Women, Blacks and Latinos, and now the United States is debating the inclusion/exclusion of foreign born people of color.(We have yet to hear the outrage of Eastern European folks). With each successful inclusion into the United States system formerly excluded groups of people are forced to hold the front line in defending the United States from terrorism, diseases, mythical creatures and other groups who are not included, yet.

The Dream Act does nothing to challenge the absurd notion that the United States heritage is based not on a unified struggle, or the overthrow of a monarchy, but in a silly notion that someone is an American by having access to all that this country has to offer. Which is 15% unemployment in major cities, the poorest medical care out of any first world nation, a country where a CEO of a company makes 450% than his entry level worker, and a place where high schools has a 30 to 70% drop out rate.

This is nothing to look forward too. I can’t see how this is a Dream.

Guest author Eric Arnold’s call for renewed lyrical revolution, "Why We Need (Real) Gangsta Rap Right Now," broke out into a great conversation — and Eric (aka E-Scribblah) took all comers. His engagement with y’all that commented is well worth a second read. Aztlanlbre builds on Eric’s argument and asks for the community to help its representatives to help the community:

… many of the rappers identified, like Ice Cube, Ice-T, Jay-Z or Dr Dre, have never articulated any substantive political analysis and/or ideological sentiment that indicated that they had a systemic understanding of why the issues that took place in the hood while they were coming up were even happening. I have heard Ice Cube say he was angry when he was young and while he felt strong about his opinions regarding the police and other issues of inequality — he feels, as a career person and parent, he must portray positive images and tell feel-good stories of African Americans.

… For long term change to take place we must continue to create spaces for youth to speak about injustice through music, but more importantly work on building their analysis so that they can make a lifetime commitment to struggle for justice. Once these rappers are no longer musically relevant, we need them to use their earnings and talent to continue to inspire youth and engage in other forms of community and economic development. They need to be taught other mechanisms for them to challenge inequalities like the abuse of poor people, the high drop-out rate, the overconcentration of African American and Latinos in the prison system, etc. This way, their legacy will not be known for their one-time contribution to identifying and calling out issues of injustice through rap music, but will more importantly help them develop a long-time contribution to social and economic justice in communities.

And finally, Rattailsmakemewannaooooh makes sure we do our job when it comes to stories about skateboarders who rescue holy books from being bbq’d by radical clergymen in city parks.

Wait. How did this article fail to mention Isoms’ amazing rattail!

A truly egregious oversight on our part, Rattailsmakemewannaooooh. Thanks for keeping us honest.

See y’all at Facing Race 2010 next week!